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Gael Force

Gael Force: A Century of Football at Queen's

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Gael Force
    Book Description:

    Gael Force provides a wealth of interesting facts and engaging anecdotes as well as profiles and photographs of the coaches, captains, and players. Merv Daub takes the reader through a century of Queen's football, from the first "Dominion" championship in 1893 with Curtis and his boys, through three consecutive Grey Cup wins in the 1920s, the 1934-35 victory of the "Fearless Fourteen," the 1955 season when Gus Braccia, Ronnie Stewart, Gary Schreider, Lou Bruce, Al Kocman, "Jocko" Thompson, and the rest of that "band of merry men" brought Queen's back into the limelight, the golden years of the 1960s, to the 1978 and 1992 Vanier Cup championship seasons.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6633-0
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-2)
    Merv Daub
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    It is fall in Kingston, and the annual explosion of youthful energy that accompanies the students’ return to the university is almost palpable. Everywhere, in the sun that nearly always characterizes this time of year, there is excited talk among small groups of students - organized and exuberant attempts by the incoming class of one faculty or another to outcry, outswear, and generally “outgross” (to use a modern term) all other incoming classes in other faculties, whether by dress, colour of hair, or otherwise. The limestone campus shimmers in the early fall heat, the trees are lush and green, and...

  7. 1 The Early Days: 1882-1914
    (pp. 15-39)

    As the above review of the inaugural season suggests, the first formal rugby football game between a Queen’s University team and an outside opponent (informal games had been played at the university throughout the preceding ten or so years) was played on Wednesday, 11 October 1882. It was described by theQueen’s Journalas follows:

    On the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 11th, a very interesting and exciting match was played in the cricket ground between the Queen’s, and Royal Military College, Rugby teams. The day was a splendid one for the game, but was rather cool for the spectators, many...

  8. 2 Days of Glory: The 1920s
    (pp. 40-61)

    The First World War ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. By any standard, it had been the largest and worst armed conflict in human history.¹ It was known as the Great War, “the war to end all wars.” Patriotic fervour had swept Canadians into it, and 620,000 had served (out of a population of around 8 million), nearly all of them volunteers. Of that total, about 61,000 were killed and another 172,000 wounded - in other words, about 30 per cent of those serving were killed or wounded. Canada’s contribution was...

  9. 3 The Dirty Thirties: But Triumphs Nonetheless
    (pp. 62-81)

    Everything grew worse for the country and the university soon after that championship season of 1929. As the economic collapse spread through the larger economies of Europe and the United States, the resource trade of exporting countries such as Canada began to suffer from a loss of markets as others stopped buying or could not pay existing debts. The situation was compounded by a general increase in the level of tariffs in many countries in an effort to preserve domestic production and thereby protect domestic employment. Since everyone began acting in a similar way, all trade suffered and, counter productively,...

  10. 4 The Long Climb: 1945-1959
    (pp. 82-108)

    As noted in the preceding chapter, all interuniversity competition was cancelled between 1940 and 1944 during the Second World War. But unlike the situation in the First World War, when many left the university to enlist, the cancellation was because of the need to accelerate academic work and because of the time required for military training on campus; there was little time to spare for athletics. As the war continued, initiation was cut back, dances were curtailed, and the mood grew steadily more serious.¹ Medical studies and then engineering were compressed into shorter periods to meet war needs; physics, economics,...

  11. 5 The Golden Years: 1960-1969
    (pp. 109-135)

    It is always risky to make claims about the “best” of virtually anything, for the term means different things to different people. In the present context, the “best” might refer to the quality of the experience, in which case everyone who ever played football at Queen’s might describe that time as the best - and who could quarrel with them? But if one concentrates strictly on team results, if one refers only to the statistical record and assumes that decades are a reasonable time frame over which to categorize things, then it is the 1960s that have been the best...

  12. 6 A Time of Transition: The 1970s
    (pp. 136-160)

    The 1970s were perhaps the most turbulent years in the history of the game at Queen’s, to say nothing of the chaotic nature of events in the world at large. The pressure of events had a variety of effects on football: Queen’s traditional schedule of playing Western, Toronto, and McGill was replaced, after several years of transition, with to-day’s Ontario Quebec Interuniversity Football Conference (OQIFC); the eligibility requirements were amended to place a cap on the number of years in which a player could compete (five, the last two to be played at the same institution); the old stadium at...

  13. 7 Over the Century Mark: 1980-1994
    (pp. 161-192)

    The writing of history so close to the present is always dangerous, principally because the passage of time has not yet bestowed its gift of perspective on events. But in this case it seemed a logical thing to do, for the close of the 1994 season marked the end of the Hargreaves era in Queen’s football. Over this entire period of the 1980s and half of the 1990s, “his” teams would add their own chapter to Queen’s football history, winning six more league championships and two more national semifinal (Churchill) bowl titles, as well as another Vanier Cup in 1992...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 193-212)

    The preceding chapters document the historical record and texture of the game at Queen’s, describing how, with the exception of the war years 1915-18 and 1940-44, football has been played continually at the university since 1882 - more than one hundred seasons. During that time the school has grown from its small beginnings to stand in the top ranks of Canadian universities. There have been wars, depression, rapid industrialization, immigration, humans on the moon, and the threat of thermonuclear extinction. But through it all, except for those two short periods, Queen’s has played football.

    There have been good times and...

  15. Epilogue
    (pp. 213-214)

    Shakespeare may well have captured it best, as he so often did. One can almost imagine the following words being spoken in the middle of the gathering of the Gaels before that Vanier Cup game in 1992:

    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

    Shall be my brother: be he ne’er so vile

    This day shall gentle his condition:

    And gentlemen in England now a-bed

    Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s Day....

  16. APPENDIX A One Hundred Years of Statistical History: A Summary
    (pp. 215-226)
  17. APPENDIX B Some Individual Records and Awards
    (pp. 227-230)
  18. APPENDIX C List of Interviewees
    (pp. 231-232)
  19. APPENDIX D Queen’s Old Boys, 1919-1995
    (pp. 233-244)
  20. Notes
    (pp. 245-274)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 275-278)
  22. Index of Names
    (pp. 279-282)